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Research methodologies

Studies are categorised according to the research methodology used. We include references on research paradigms, and on researcher reflexivity.


Qualitative research studies are useful for clinicians and therapists because of their applicability to therapeutic and organisational practice. Included are process research studies, and research exploring meaning-making, language and its effects. Studies which explore aspects of subjectivity, relationships, family, community and context with implications for therapy are included as are articles which describe and review methodologies.

Collective, B., Bittinger, R., Canella, C., Erb, J., Helps, S., Huhnen, M., Kirkpatrick, D., & Mendus, A. (2023). The Collaborative Body in Qualitative Research: Becoming Bodyography (1st ed.). Routledge.

de Paula-Ravagnani, G. E., Sundet, E. R., & Guanaes-Lorenzi, C. (2022). Learning from within: Therapists’ actions in daily clinical practice. Family Process, 00, 1– 14.

Willig, C (2019) What can qualitative research contribute to psychological knowledge?  Psychological Methods.

Action research and participatory action research

Action Research – AR+

Bradbury, H., Glenzer, K., Apgar, M., Embury, D. C., Friedman, V., Kjellström, S., … Devecha, S. (2020). Action Research Journal’s seven quality choicepoints for action oriented research for transformationsAction Research18(1), 3–6.

Epston, D. (1999) Co-research: the making of alternative knowledge.  Narrative therapy and community work: a conference collection. Adelaide: Dulwich Centre Publications.

Fraenkel, P. (2006) Engaging families as experts: collaborative family program development. Family Process, 45(2): 237-257.

Gazzaroli, D., Corvino, C., & D’Angelo, C. (2023). Co-creating organizational welfare through action-research: Insights from the case of a social cooperative. Action Research0(0).

Hemy, A. D. and Meshulam, A. (2020) ‘‘Is that okay, teacher?’ The camera as a tool to challenge power relations in a participatory action research classroom’, Qualitative Research. doi: 10.1177/1468794120952008.

Johnson, S. and Piercy, F. (2000) Qualitative evaluation of family therapy programs: a participatory approach.Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 26(1): 39-45.

Kemmis, S. and McTaggart, R. (2000) Participatory action research. In N. K. Denzin and Y.S. Lincoln (eds) Handbook of Qualitative Research (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

​McArdle, K.L. and Reason, P. (2008) Action research and organization development. In: Cummings, T. G. ed, Handbook of organization development. London: Sage Publications pp. 123-136.

Proctor, K., McIlwaine, F., and Perlesz, A. (2004) ‘Walking the line’ — engaging school communities to challenge homophobia. The Breaking Through project: a whole-school approach for a safer and more inclusive school environment. Unpublished manuscript. Latrobe University, Australia.

Reed, J. (2006) Appreciative Inquiry: Research for change. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Williams, J. and Lykes, M.B. (2003) Bridging theory and practice: using reflexive cycles in feminist participatory action research. Feminism and Psychology, 13(3): 287-294.​

Appreciative inquiry

Bodiford, K. and Camargo-Borges, C. (eds) (2014) Bridging Research and Practice: Illustrations from Appreciative Inquiry in Doctoral ResearchInternational Journal of Appreciative Inquiry, 16(3).

Burbach, F.R. and Amani, S.K. (2019), “Appreciative enquiry peer review improving quality of services”, International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, Vol. 32 No. 5, pp. 857-866.

Reed, J. (2006) Appreciative Inquiry: Research for change. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.


Rhodes, P. (2021), Matter Matters: Assembling Life after Post-Milan. Aust N Z J Fam Ther.

Conversational analysis

Amoss, S. (2014) The negotiation of blame in family therapy with families affected by psychosis.  Systemic Psychotherapy Doctoral Thesis. Tavistock Library [contact].

Antaki, C. (2008) Formulations in psychotherapy. In C. Antaki, A. Perakyla, S. Vehvilainen and I. Leudar (eds) Conversation Analysis and Psychotherapy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 

Couture, S.J. & Sutherland, O. (2006), “Giving advice on advice-giving: A conversation analysis of Karl Tomm’s practice”Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 32: 329-345.

Dallos, R., Denman, K., Stedmon, J. & Smart, C. (2012) The Construction of ADHD: Family Dynamics, Conversations and Attachment Patterns. Human Systems: The Journal of Therapy, Consultation & Training. 23(1): 5-26.

Fullen, C. T. (2020) The Therapeutic Alliance in a Single Session: A Conversation AnalysisJournal of Systemic Therapies 2019 38, 4, 45-61

Janusz, B., Pawelczyk, J., & Józefik, B. (2023). How therapists respond to “uneven” alliances in couple and family therapy: A conversation-analytic study. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 1–19.

O’Reilly, M. (2005), The complaining client and the troubled therapist: a discursive investigation of family therapyJournal of Family Therapy, 27: 370-391. doi:10.1111/j.1467-6427.2005.0328.x

O’Reilly, M. (2014) Blame and accountability in family therapy: Making sense of therapeutic spaces discursively. Qualitative Psychology, 1(2): 163-177.

O’Reilly, M. and Lester, V.L. (2016) Building a case for good parenting in a family therapy systemic environment: resisting blame and accounting for children’s behaviour. Journal of Family Therapy. 38(4): 491-50.

Ong, B. (2021), Interdisciplinary Reflections on Conversation Analysis, Power, and Open Dialogue. Aust N Z J Fam Ther.

Ong B., Barnes S., & Buus N. (2024). A conversation analysis of therapist repeats in open dialogue network meetings. Family Process, 63, 113–129.

Ong, B., Barnes, S. and Buus, N. (2020), Downgrading Deontic Authority in Open Dialogue Reflection Proposals: A Conversation Analysis. Family Process

Ong, B., Barnes, S. and Buus, N. (2020), Conversation analysis and family therapy: a narrative reviewJournal of Family Therapy, 42: 169-203. doi:10.1111/1467-6427.12269

Ong, B., Barnes, S. and Buus, N. (2019) Conversational analysis and family therapy: A critical review of methodologyFamily Process. early view.

Smoliak, O., MacMartin, C., Hepburn, A., Le Couteur, A., Elliott, R. and Quinn‐Nilas, C. (2021), Authority in therapeutic interaction: A conversation analytic study. J Marital Fam Ther.

Sutherland, O. and Strong, T. (2011) Therapeutic collaboration: a conversation analysis of constructionist therapyJournal of Family Therapy.  33, 3: 229–371

Tseliou, E. (2013) A critical methodological review of discourse and conversation analysis studies of family therapyFamily Process. 52(4):653-72

Watson, R. (2018) Jointly created authority: a conversation analysis of how power is managed by parents and systemic psychotherapists in children’s social care. Journal of Family Therapy

Coordinated management of meaning (CMM)

There are some useful papers and book chapters on the official CMM website, which include:

Barnett Pearce, W. (2008) Doing Research In Our Right Minds. [book chapter]. (This is the English filecopy of a chapter in a book on research methods published in Colombia. In it, Barnett Pearce explores the effects of using CMM’s heuristics on the mind and brain of the user, arguing that these effects are salutory for those doing research.)

Barnett Pearce, W. (2006). Doing Research from the Perspective of the Coordinated Management of Meaning [unpublished paper]. (This unpublished paper describes two ways in which CMM can be used in research. Some researchers “frame” their projects within the concepts and perspectives of CMM; others simply use some of CMM’s concepts and models in service to research projects framed by other perspectives. The purpose of this paper is to help researchers use what CMM has to offer; it suggests a sequence of four steps: descriptive, interpretive, critical and practical.)

Dialogical approaches

Soggiu, A.-S., Eirik Karlsson, B., Gøril Klevan, T. and Ness, O. (2021), Inner and Outer Voices in Research: How Dialogical Approaches Can Enhance Knowledge Development in Mental Healthcare. Aust N Z J Fam Ther.

Dialogical investigation of the happenings of change

Avdi, E., Lerou, V., & Seikkula, J. (2015). Dialogical Features, Therapist Responsiveness, and Agency in a Therapy for Psychosis. Journal of Constructivist Psychology. Vol. 28 , Iss. 4.

Helimäki, M., Laitila, A. and Kumpulainen, K. (2020), ‘Can I tell?’ Children’s participation and positioning in a secretive atmosphere in family therapyJournal of Family Therapy. doi:10.1111/1467-6427.12296

Seikkula, J. & Olson, M. (2016) Therapists’ responses for enhancing change through dialogue: Dialogical investigations of change. In Maria Borcsa & Peter Rober (eds) Research Perspectives in Couple Therapy. Discursive Qualitative Methods.

Seikkula, J., Laitila, A., & Rober, P. (2012) Making sense of multi-actor dialogues in family therapy and network meetings. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. Vol 38. 4. pp 667-687.

Discourse analysis / discursive research

Avdi, E. (2005) Negotiating a pathological identity in clinical dialogue: discourse analysis of a family therapy. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 78(4): 493-511.

Best, A. (2003) Doing Race in the Context of Feminist Interviewing: Constructing Whiteness Through Talk. Qualitative Inquiry, 9(6): 895-914. doi: 10.1177/1077800403254891

Burck, C. (2005) Comparing qualitative research methodologies for systemic research: the use of grounded theory, discourse analysis and narrative analysis.Journal of Family Therapy, 27: 238-263.

Cadenhead, R.A. & Fellin, L.C. (2023) Cultural reflexivity and the referral problem: A discourse analysis of three initial sessions of intercultural couple therapy. Journal of Family Therapy, 45, 348– 380. Available from:

Coates, L & Wade, A (2007) Language and Violence: The Analysis of Four Discursive Operations. Journal of Family Violence, 22: 511-522.

Cottrell-Boyce, J. (2021) “Addressing White privilege in family therapy: A discourse analysis”. Journal of Family Therapy, 00: 1– 15.

Diorinou, M. and Tseliou, E. (2014) Studying Circular Questioning “In Situ”: Discourse Analysis Of A First Systemic Family Therapy Session. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 40(1): 106–121. doi: 10.1111/jmft.12005.

Deeny Coopasamy, Y. (2016) Using interviews to understand parent and family perspectives of the August 2011 London riots. Journal of Family Therapy, 38 (4): 512-534.

Edley, N. (2001) Analysing masculinity: interpretative repertoires, ideological dilemmas and subject positions. In M. Wetherell, S. Taylor and S.J. Yates (eds) Discourse as Data. London: Open University & Sage.

Edman, K. (2024). Doing mutual understanding in child and family therapy sessions: How three interlocutors calibrate new information. Discourse Studies, 26(2), 199-217.

Gale, J. (2011) Discursive analysis: A research approach for studying the moment-to- moment construction of meaning in systemic practice. Human Systems, 21(2): 176-207.

Killian, K.D. (2002) Dominant and marginalized discourses in interracial couples’ narratives: implications for family therapistsFamily Process, 41: 603-618.

Klevan, T. et al (2016) Between a rock and a softer place—A discourse analysis of helping cultures in crisis resolution teams. Qualitative Social Work, Vol 17, Issue 2:252  – 267

Kogana, S.M. (1998) The politics of making meaning. Discourse analysis of a ‘postmodern’ interview. Journal of Family Therapy, 20: 229-251.

Lee, E., Tsang, A. K. T., Bogo, M., Wilson, G., Johnstone, M. and Herschman, J. (2018), Joining revisited in family therapy: discourse analysis of cross-cultural encounters between a therapist and an immigrant familyJournal of Family Therapy, 40: 148–179. doi:10.1111/1467-6427.12148

Nanouri K, Tseliou E, Abakoumkin G, Bozatzis N. ‘Who decided this?’: Negotiating epistemic and deontic authority in systemic family therapy training. Discourse Studies. January 2022. doi:10.1177/14614456211037450

Ong, B., Tseliou, E., Strong, T., & Buus, N. (2023). Power and dialogue: A review of discursive research. Family Process, 00, 1– 17.

O’Reilly, M. (2008) ‘I didn’t violent punch him’: parental accounts of punishing children with mental health problems. Journal of Family Therapy, 3: 272-295. 

Pakes, K. and Roy-Chowdhury, S. (2007) Culturally sensitive therapy? Examining the practice of cross-cultural family therapy. Journal of Family Therapy, 29(3): 267-283.

Parker, C., Smithson, J., Limond, J., Sherbersky, H. and Butler, C. (2021), Student and supervisor experiences of the Systemic Practice Scale (SPS): a discourse analysis. Journal of Family Therapy

Patrika, P. and Tseliou, E. (2016) Blame, responsibility and systemic neutrality: a discourse analysis methodology to the study of family therapy problem talkJournal of Family Therapy, 38: 467–490. doi:10.1111/1467-6427.12076.

Ringrow, H. (2023). Book review: How to do Critical Discourse Analysis: A Multimodal Introduction. Discourse & Society0(0).

Sametband, I. and Strong, T. (2018), Immigrant family members negotiating preferred cultural identities in family therapy conversations: a discursive analysis. Journal of Family Therapy, 40: 201–223. doi:10.1111/1467-6427.12164

Singh, R. (2009) Constructing the family across culture. Journal of Family Therapy 31(4): 359-383.

Sutherland, O., LaMarre, A., Rice, C., Hardt, L. and Le Couteur, A. (2017), New Sexism in Couple Therapy: A Discursive Analysis. Fam. Proc., 56: 686-700.

Van Parys, H. and Rober, P. (2013) Micro-analysis of a therapist-generated metaphor referring to the position of a parentified child in the family. Journal of Family Therapy 35: 89–113. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6427.2011.00551.x

Wallis, J. and Singh, R. (2014) Constructions and enactments of whiteness: a discursive analysis. Journal of Family Therapy, 36: 39–64. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6427.2012.00602.x

Emotional mapping / experience mapping

Sallay V, Martos T, Chatfield SL, Dúll A. (2019) Strategies of Dyadic Coping and Self-Regulation in the Family Homes of Chronically Ill Persons: A Qualitative Research Study Using the Emotional Map of the Home Interview Method. Front Psychol. 28;10:403. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00403.

Viola, S., Tamás, M., Orsolya, R.-F., Zsolt, Horvá., Kalevi, K., (2023) Profiles of perceived physical features and emotional experiences in favorite places: Discovering ambivalent place preferences, Journal of Environmental Psychology doi:

Ethnography and observation

Bruner, E.M., (1986) Ethnography as narrative. In Turner, V. W., Bruner E.M. (eds) The anthropology of experience. University of Illinois Press, pp. 139–155.

Davies, C.A. (1999) Reflexive Ethnography. A Guide to Researching Selves and Others. London: Routledge.

Dennis, A. (2022). Secondary ethnographic analysis: Thinking about things. Qualitative Research0(0).

Ellis, C., Adams, T.E. & Bochner, A.P. (2011) Autoethnography: An OverviewFQS 12(1).

Ellis, C., (2004) The call of auto-ethnographic stories. In Ellis, C. The ethnographic I. A methodical novel about auto-ethnography, pp. 24 – 57

Epston, D (2014) Ethnography, Co-research and Insider Knowledges. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, 35(1): 105–109,

Favez, N., Lavanchy Scaiola, C., Tissot, H., Darwiche, J. & Frascarolo, F. (2011). The Family Alliance Assessment Scales (FAAS): Steps toward validity and reliability of an observational tool for early family interactions. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 20 (1): 23-37.

Rapport, N. (2000) The narrative as fieldwork technique. Processual ethnography for a world in motion. In V. Amit (ed.) Constructing the Field. London: Routledge.

Grounded theory

Ball, P.L. (2024) Systemic family therapists and dementia: A constructivist grounded theory study. Journal of Family Therapy, 00, 1–17. Available from:

Bryant, A. & Charmaz, C. (2010) The Sage Handbook of Grounded Theory. London: Sage.

Burck, C. (2005) Comparing qualitative research methodologies for systemic research: the use of grounded theory, discourse analysis and narrative analysis.Journal of Family Therapy, 27: 238-263.

Charmaz, K. (2006) Constructing Grounded Theory: a Practical Guide Through Qualitative Analysis. London: Sage Publications. 

Coldwell, J., Meddings, S. and Camic, P.M. (2011) How people with psychosis positively contribute to their family: a grounded theory analysis. Journal of Family Therapy 33(3): 353-371.

Kelly, S., & Kellman, T. (2021). “Don’t you care about the well-being of your race?”: African American couples discuss racial differences involving criticisms of other Black people. Family Process, 00, 1– 16.

Knudson‐Martin, C., Kim, L., Gibbs, E. and Harmon, R. (2021), Sociocultural Attunement to Vulnerability in Couple Therapy: Fulcrum for Changing Power Processes in Heterosexual Relationships. Fam. Proc..

Rober, P., Elliott, R., Buysse, A., Loots, G. & De Corte, K. (2008) Positioning in the therapist’s inner conversation:a dialogical model based on a grounded theory analysis of therapist reflections. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 34(3): 406-421.

Indigenous methodologies

Barnes HM, Gunn TR, Barnes AM, Muriwai E, Wetherell M, McCreanor T. (2017) Feeling and spirit: developing an indigenous wairua approach to research. Qualitative Research. 2017;17(3):313-325. doi:10.1177/1468794117696031

Kerr, J & Adamov Ferguson, K. (2020) Ethical Relationality and Indigenous Storywork Principles as Methodology: Addressing Settler-Colonial Divides in Inner-City Educational Research. Qualitative Inquiry. November 2020. doi:10.1177/1077800420971864

Interpersonal process recall / stimulated recall interviews

Borcsa, M., & Janusz, B. (2021). Interpersonal process recall in systemic research: Investigating couple therapists’ personal and professional selves. In M. Borcsa, & C. Willig, (Eds.), Qualitative research methods in mental health (pp. 167–191). Springer.

Elliott, R. (1986). Interpersonal process recall as a psychotherapy process research method. In L. S. Greenberg & W. M. Pinsof (Eds.), The psychotherapeutic process: A research handbook, ed., 503–527. Guilford.

Janusz, Bernadetta & Peräkylä, Anssi (2020):Quality in conversation analysis and interpersonal process recall, Qualitative Research in Psychology, DOI: 10.1080/14780887.2020.1780356

Interpretative phenomenological analysis

IPA is an experiential qualitative approach to research developed by Jonathan Smith, Professor of Psychology, Birkbeck University of London. The IPA website is a useful resource.

Allan, R. and Eatough, V. (2016) The use of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis in Couple and Family therapy research. The Family Journal: Counselling and Therapy for Couples and Families. 24(4): 406-414.

Herring, N. (2021) Young people, living in care and adopted, talk about their experiences of receiving an NHS therapeutic intervention. Qualitative research analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Journal of Family Therapy, 43: 426– 444.

Larkin, M., Shaw, R. & Flowers, P. (2018) Multiperspectival designs and processes in interpretative phenomenological analysis research, Qualitative Research in Psychology, DOI: 10.1080/14780887.2018.1540655.

Larkin, M., Watts, S. and Clifton, E. (2006) Giving voice and making sense in interpretative phenomenological analysisQualitative Research in Psychology, 3: 102-120.

Pentecost, D. (2008) How do Child Psychiatrists Conceptualise ADHD? An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Systemic Psychotherapy Doctorate Thesis. Birkbeck College (University of London) Library & Institute of Family Therapy Library.

Raval, H. and Smith, J.A. (2003) Therapists’ experiences of working with language interpreters. International Journal of Mental Health, 32(2): 6-31.

Smith, J.A. (2011) Evaluating the contribution of interpretative phenomenological analysis. Health Psychology Review, 5(1): 9-27.

Shahnavaz, S. (2014) Traumas of refugees and the impact on couple and family relationships.  Systemic Psychotherapy Doctoral Thesis. Tavistock Library [contact].

Smith, J.A., Larkin, M. and Flowers, P.(eds) (2009) Interpretative phenomenological analysis : theory, method and research. London: Sage. 

Todorova, I. (2011) Explorations with interpretative phenomenological analysis in different socio-cultural contexts. Health Psychology Review, 5(1): 34-38.

Wagstaffe, S. (2006) Depressed Women Talking about Mothering: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Systemic Psychotherapy Doctoral Thesis. Birkbeck College (University of London) Library & Institute of Family Therapy Library.


Theory-generating meta-synthesis consists of synthesising the results of multiple qualitative studies to generalise the findings without sacrificing context-rich information.

Chenail, R. J., et al. (2012). Clients’ relational conceptions of conjoint couple and family therapy quality: A grounded formal theory. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 38(1), pp. 241-264. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-0606.2011.00246.x

Finfgeld-Connett, D. (2018) A Guide to Qualitative Meta-Synthesis

Narrative analysis

Anthias, L. (2016) Constructing personal and couple narratives in late stage cancer: a narrative analysis. Systemic Psychotherapy Doctoral Thesis. Tavistock Library [contact].

Anthias, L. (2016) Constructing personal and couple narratives in late stage cancer: can a typology illuminate the caring perspective? Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, 37(3):418-430.

Bower, K. L., Lewis, D. C. and Paulus, T. M. (2021) ‘Using ATLAS for Mac to enact narrative analysis: metaphor of generativity from LGBT older adult life stories’, Qualitative Research. doi: 10.1177/1468794121999008.

Burck, C. (2005) Comparing qualitative research methodologies for systemic research: the use of grounded theory, discourse analysis and narrative analysis.Journal of Family Therapy, 27: 238-263.

Elliot, J. (2005) Using Narrative in Social Research. Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. London: Sage.

Emerson, P. and Frosh, S. (2004) Critical Narrative Analysis in Psychology: A Guide to Practice. London: Palgrave.

Riessman, C. K. (2008) Narrative Methods for the Human Sciences. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Sequeira, J. and Alarcão, M. (2013) Assessment System Of Narrative Change. Journal of Systemic Therapies, 32(4): 33–51

Squire, C (2008) Approaches to Narrative Research. ESRC National Centre for Research Methods Review Paper.

Stern, S., Doolan, M., Staples, E., Szmukler, G.L. and Eisler, I. (1999) Disruption and reconstruction: narrative insights into the experience of family members caring for a relative diagnosed with serious mental illness. Family Process, 38: 353-369.

Wellington, M., David, J., Frawley, P., O’Shea, A., & Dew, A. (2024). Building the Environment for Narrative Inquiry With Young People With Intellectual Disability. Qualitative Inquiry, 0(0).

New materialist methods

Feely, M. (2020). Assemblage analysis: an experimental new-materialist method for analysing narrative data. Qualitative Research20(2), 174–193.

Van Hennik, R. (2019). Becoming a Posthuman Systemic Nomad: Part I: Truth and trustMurmurations: Journal of Transformative Systemic Practice2(2), 70-85.

Simon, G., & Salter, L. K. (2019). Transmaterial Worlding. Beyond Human SystemsMurmurations: Journal of Transformative Systemic Practice2(2), 1-17.

Reflexivity in research

Gabb, J. and Singh, R. (2015) Reflections on the challenges of understanding racial, cultural and sexual differences in couple relationship researchJournal of Family Therapy 37(2): 210-227.

Simon, G. & Chard, A. (eds.) (2014) Systemic Inquiry. Innovations in Reflexive Practice Research. Farnhill: Everything is Connected Press.

Steier, F. (1991) Research and Reflexivity: Knowing as Systemic Social Construction. London: Sage.

Semantic analysis

Ugazio, V., & Fellin, L. (2016). Family Semantic Polarities and Positionings. A semantic analysis. In P. Rober, M. Borcsa, (Eds.). Qualitative Research in Systemic Couple Therapy. Multiple Readings, London: Springer.

Ugazio V., Negri, A., Fellin, L. & Di Pasquale, R. (2009) The Family Semantics Grid (FSG): Narrated polarities. A manual for the semantic analysis of therapeutic conversation and self-narrativesTPM: Testing, Psychometrics and Methodology in Applied Psychology, 16(4): 165-192.

Sequential analysis

Barbara, T.J, Waldron, H.B. (1994) Sequential analysis as a method of feedback for family therapy process. The American Journal of Family Therapy 22 (2): 156-164.

Friedlander MLLambert JEValentín ECragun C. (2008) How do therapists enhance family alliances? Sequential analyses of therapist-client behavior in two contrasting cases. Psychotherapy, 45(1): 75-87. doi: 10.1037/0033-3204.45.1.75.

Single case studies

Hilliard, R.B., (1993) Single-case methodology in psychotherapy process and outcome research. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology, 61(3), p.373.

Marková, I., Zadeh, S., & Zittoun, T. (2020). Introduction to the special issue on generalisation from dialogical single case studies. Culture & Psychology26(1), 3–24.

Matsuba, M. K., Elder, G., Petrucci, F., & Reimer, K. S. (2010). Re-storying the lives of at-risk youth: a case study approach. In K. C. McLean & M. Pasupathi (Eds.), Narrative Development in Adolescence: Creating the Storied Self. New York: Springer US, pp. 131-149.

Sim, T. (2007). Structural Family Therapy in Adolescent Drug Abuse: A Hong Kong Chinese Family. Clinical Case Studies, 6 (1): 79-99.

Vall, B., Seikkula, J., Laitila, A. & Botella, L. (2014) Increasing responsibility, safety, and trust through a dialogical approach: A case study in couple therapy for psychological abusive behavior. Journal of Family Psychotherapy, 25(4): 275-299.

Thematic analysis

Braun, V. and Clarke, V. (2006) Using thematic analysis in psychology.Qualitative Research in Psychology. 3: 77-101.

Fereday, J., & Muir-Cochrane, E. (2006). Demonstrating rigor using thematic analysis: A hybrid approach of inductive and deductive coding and theme development. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 5(1)

Smoliak, O., LaMarre, A., Rice, C., Tseliou, E., LeCouteur, A., Myers, M., Vesely, L., Briscoe, C., Addison, M. and Velikonja, L. (2021), The politics of vulnerable masculinity in couple therapy. J Marital Fam Ther.

Task analysis

Anderson, S.R., Sumner, B.W., Parady, A., Whiting, J. and Tambling, R. (2019), A Task Analysis of Client Re‐engagement: Therapeutic De‐escalation of High‐Conflict CoparentsFamily Process. doi:10.1111/famp.12511


Quantitative research included here consists of outcome studies as well as meta-analyses and systematic reviews. Please also see the Effectivenss and Outcome page.

Stratton, P. (2016) The Evidence Base of Family Therapy and Systemic Practice. Association for Family Therapy, UK.

Stratton, P., Silver, E. Nascimento, N., McDonnell L., Powell, G. & Nowotny, E. (2015) Couples and family therapy in the previous decade – what does the evidence tell us? Contemporary Family Therapy, 27: 1-12. doi: 10.1007/s10591- 014 -9314 – 6

Content analysis

Bischoff, R.J. (2011) Finding the heart of medical family therapy: a content analysis of medical family therapy. Families, Systems, & Health, 29:3 (2011), pp. 184–196. doi: 10.1037/a0024637

Gambrel, L. E. and Butler VI, J. L. (2013). Mixed methods research in marriage and family therapy: A content analysis. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 39: 163–181. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-0606.2011.00260.x

Parker E. O., Chang J. and Thomas V. (2016). A content analysis of quantitative research in Journal of Marital and Family Therapy: A 10-year review. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 42: 3–18. doi: 10.1111/jmft.12138

Randomised controlled trials (RCTs)

Please see the ‘Randomised controlled trials (RCTs)’ section in our ‘Evaluation & Outcomes‘ category for a list of references.

Systematic reviews and meta-analysis

Systematic review is a review of a clearly formulated question that uses systematic and explicit methods to identify, select and critically appraise relevant research, and to collect and analyse data from the studies that are not included in the review.  Statistical methods (meta-analysis) may or may not be used to analyse and summarise the results of the included studies.

Meta-analysis is a statistical technique that combines the results of individual studies to arrive at one overall measure of the effect of a treatment.

Please see the ‘Systematic reviews and meta-analyses’ section in our ‘Evaluation & Outcomes‘ category for a list of references.

Other quantitative

Christenson, J.D. & Gutierrez, D.M. (2016) Using Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Research to Promote Family Therapy with Adolescents in Residential SettingsContemporary Family Therapy 38: 52-61. doi:10.1007/s10591-016-9374-x

Dickey, M.H. (1996) Quantitative design in family therapy: insider hints on getting started. In D.H. Sprenkle and S.M. Moon (eds) Research Methods in Family Therapy. London: Guilford Press.

Distelberg B. J., Emerson N. D., Gavaza P., Tapanes D., Brown W. N., Shah H., Williams-Reade J. and Montgomery S. (2016). A cost–benefit analysis of a family systems intervention for managing pediatric chronic illness. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 42: 371–382. doi: 10.1111/jmft.12166

Greenhalgh, T. (1997) How to read a paper: statistics for the non-statistician. I: Different types of data need different statistical tests. British Medical Journal, 315: 364-366.

Greenhalgh, T. (1997) How to read a paper: statistics for the non-statistician. II: Significant relations and their pitfalls.British Medical Journal, 315: 422-425.

Mixed methods

Mixed methods research

Betancourt, T.S. et al (2011). Using Mixed-Methods Research to Adapt and Evaluate a Family Strengthening Intervention in RwandaAfrican Journal of Traumatic Stress, 2(1): 32–45.

Gambrel, L. E. and Butler VI, J. L. (2013). Mixed methods research in marriage and family therapy: A content analysis. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 39, 163–181. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-0606.2011.00260.x

Krause, I. B. (1994) Numbers and meaning: a dialogue in cross-cultural psychiatry.Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 87: 278-282.

Lewin S., Glenton, C. and Oxman, A.D. (2009) Use of qualitative methods alongside randomised controlled trials of complex healthcare interventions: methodological study.British Medical Journal, 339: 732-734.

Lorås, L., Whittaker, K., Stokkebekk, J., & Tilden, T. (2023). Researching what we practice: The paradigm of systemic family research: Part 1. Family Process, 00, 1–14.

Morgan, D.L. (2007) Paradigms lost and pragmatism regained. Methodological implications of combining qualitative and quantitative methods.Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 1(1): 48-76.

Palinkas, L. A., Horwitz, S. M., Chamberlain, P., Hurlburt, M. S., & Landsverk, J. (2011). Mixed-methods designs in mental health services research: A review. Psychiatric Services. 62 (3): 255-263.

Whittaker, K., Stokkebekk, J., Lorås, L., & Tilden, T. (2023). Researching what we practice—The paradigm of systemic family research: Part 2. Family Process, 00, 1–15.

Wilkinson, S. (2000) Women with breast cancer talking causes: comparing content, biographical and discursive analyses.Feminism and Psychology, 10(4): 431-460.

De-colonising research methodologies / issues and barriers

Barnes BR. Decolonising research methodologies: opportunity and caution. South African Journal of Psychology. 2018;48(3):379-387. doi:10.1177/0081246318798294

Kara, Helen (2020) Decolonising Methods: A reading list.

Keikelame, M. J., & Swartz, L. (2019). Decolonising research methodologies: lessons from a qualitative research project, Cape Town, South Africa. Global health action12(1), 1561175.

Smith, Linda Tuhiwai (1999/2008) Decolonising Methodologies. Zed Books.